Holiday Gift Showcase

Picture Books
I started my Holiday Gift Showcase with gifts inspired by children’s books so I think it’s fitting that I would wrap it up with a list of wonderful books that would make great last minute gifts.

” The Very Grouchy Ladybug” by Eric Carle is more than a cute book about a crabby bug. The Lady bug is looking for a fight and each hour she finds a bigger and bigger animal to fight with until she is unintentionally slapped by a big whale’s tail! I loved using this book to teach telling time, as there is a picture of an analog clock on each page. I would use a play clock and as I read each page ask one child to come and set our classroom clock. Also don’t be put off by the fact that the lady bug tries to pick fights, no animal takes her up on her offer and you can spin that into a great lesson about not giving into people who are trying to pick fights.

Sink or Swim “ by Valerie Coulman is my new favorite book, it’s about a cow who is determined to learn how to swim. He seeks out advice, gets all the equipment and never gives up! The story is a wonderful lesson about tenacity in the face of adversity . The cow just keeps trying!


” Alphabet Under Construction”
by Denise Fleming is a wonderful example of what an alphabet book should be. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers learning their first letters, the text is short , the letters are front and center and the illustrations are fun and interesting. My son loves this book, I grabbed it at the library after remembering how much my Pre K class loved it too! Many alphabet books are too long to read entirety at circle time or in one shot with a toddler but this my 19 month old will sit through Z every time!

” Dig Dig Digging” by Margaret Mayo was an instant favorite as soon as my son opened it last night. I bought it without pre reading it at all , hoping that just the fact there was a digger on the front my son would love it. The book is so much better than I expected. It goes through all different types of vehicles, not just diggers and the text uses a repetitive format that kids love. The best part is the opening line of each page where is says what each vehicle is good at. ” Diggers are good at dig dig digging!” ” Tractors are good at pull pull pulling!” are just two of the many. I love this because it had my son trying to say it and by the 3rd reading he was saying it along with me. Great book for toddlers and preschoolers!





” I Love You, Stinky Face” by Lisa McCourt reminds me of “The Runaway Bunny” but less saccharine and creepy. Sorry if I have just called your favorite book creepy but I’ve never been a fan of “The Runaway Bunny”. Back to this book and why I like it, I love that the little boy in the book keeps trying to find ways to make him unlovable and the mom keeps finding ways to love unconditionally. There is a deeper meaning here and moms will see past the fun illustrations to the real heart of this book, which is no matter what we love our children. When I found this in a thrift store and read it quickly, I couldn’t look at my son in his stroller throwing puffs on the floor without tearing up!

Freckleface Strawberry” by Julianne Moore is one of the few celebrity books you will see me giving a good review, I really like this book. It doesn’t talk down to kids, and the humor is funny for parents and kids alike. I like that her freckles do not go away as she got older too, instead she learns to accept and love them.

“The Paper Bag Princess” by Robert Munsch is one of my very favorite books. Some parents have shared their dislike of Elizabeth’s outburst at the end calling Ronald a bum but I think not only is it justified, he treated her horribly, but people say things when they are angry and you can easily use it to teach your child about anger. I think it’s a wonderful story about a princess taking things into her own hands and saving herself and the prince! My kind of fairytale.

” The Family Book” by Todd Parr is a book that doesn’t give readers a narrow definition of family , it doesn’t say that your family has to look a certain way, or be the same as your neighbors. As a teacher I really appreciated the matter of fact way it embraced diversity. Kids see that families are not all like theirs and it’s important to validate the truth while recognizing that while they may not all look alike, all families are made with love. Great book , cute illustrations and children love it.


” How to Make an Apple Pie and see the world”
by Marjorie Priceman cost be a total of 15 cents! It is worth so much more than that. This book is a gem! Perfect for older preschoolers who are getting a sense of the world beyond their own home and city, this book takes you on a ride around the world! You follow the little girl to Italy, France , Sri Lanka, England, Jamaica and back to Vermont! This wonderful book takes such a simple idea of searching for ingredients and blows it into a wonderful global adventure!

” Truck Driver Tom “ by Monica Wellington is one of my son’s picks. The story is simple, Tom and his puppy drive produce from the farm to the market and see the country side and much more along the way. The best part of this book are the fun bright and detailed illustrations, there is a wide variety of trucks, cars , emergency and construction vehicles! Also it’s a great lesson about how our food gets from the farm to us

Gift Tag Ornaments – Christmas Crafts For Kids

gift tage ornament for kidsHere is another craft to add to our Christmas crafts for kids list. Before my son came along I used to make all my own gift tags with nice card stock, ribbon etc… this year 90% of my tags have Lighting McQueen or Cinderella on them and I did not make them. However I thought I would make a few picture frame ones for our family far away! Oh and I swear this is the last sparkly foam craft til next Christmas, or at least Valentine’s Day !

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some foam, sticky back works but you can use regular , or even card stock, some wallet size photos, glue, a marker, scissors and sparkly pipe cleaners!
  2. Start by cutting out your picture, and using it as a guide for how big a piece of foam you will need for the frame. 
  3. Cut out.
  4. Cut out a larger piece for the back.
  5. Glue your picture to the larger piece
  6. Cut some small pieces or shapes and have your child glue or stick them onto the frame.
  7. Place the frame over it, glue it down.
  8. Poke a small hole at the top and thread a pipe cleaner through.
  9. Write your message on the back with a marker!
  10. Add them to your gifts or tree !

Sent In By You !

Folded Paper Dreidel
Whether you are Jewish or not playing dreidel games are fun!
Thanks to my friend Andy who shared this craft with us! For a full overview of how and why dreidels are played with during Hanukkah click here

  • You will need two pieces of construction paper and a pen or pencil, and tape.
  • Draw out lines to denote the fold for the top, the side, and then the bottom. I’d make the bottom part a bit longer than I have them so they’ll come together better and so the pen/pencil won’t be lopsided like mine is. It makes 3 sides, but you only need 4 or 2 if you’re doing 2 different colors.

  • This is what each side should look like once cut out. Draw the symbols on now, before you make it into the box.

  • The four sides place together for the top. Poke the hole now

  • Once you fold the four sides up and tape them, fold the corners of each bottom section to form a bit of a point to lead down to the spinning part of the pen/pencil (I think a pencil may work better).
  • This is a picture of all the folds that will need to be done

  • Then tape all the angled bottoms together and stick the pen/pencil into it.
  • Bottom view:

  • Top view:

For instructions on how to play with your dreidel and the symbols click here

Books!

“Hanukkah Moon” by Debra Da Costa is a magical book, reading it reminded me of reading “The Red Tent” it was very empowering , to see a little girl learn about her aunt’s Mexican Hanukkah traditions and all about Hanukkah moon ! The book is wonderful for anyone, I know for me when I think of Hanukkah I think of friends I grew up with in Canada celebrating and family friends from Isreal but in my limited experience I didn’t think of people in Mexico celebrating and how their traditions would be different from those in Canada or Isreal. Very cool book!


“Hanukkah Haiku” by Harriet Ziefert is a bright and cheery look at the traditions surrounding the holiday within the parameters of a haiku on every page. The illustrations by Karla Gudeon are so detailed I spent ages just looking at all of it. Each page is a haiku that goes along with a night of Hanukkah and it also explains briefly some of the other traditions like playing driedel , eating latkes and chocolate gold coins!

Light A Candle

A few months back I posted a link to

Jenny’s Light

It is an organization that is devoted to helping families struggling with Post Partum Depression. Exactly a year ago Jenny Gibbs Bankston and her infant son Graham tragically died . Now through this foundation her family and friends are making sure that their lives however short were not in vain. On this tragic anniversary I hope that this post reaches someone who needs it and makes a difference.

To see the memorial video
click here

Candy Cane Craft For Toddlers

candy cane craft I am always trying to sneak in different textures and use different tools during art time , this craft does both. Using things you have around the house you can make a delightful little candy cane !

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard ( like an old cereal box), some red paint, a marker, glue , cotton balls and something to paint with. We are using a dish scrubber because it’s been a while since we’ve painted with it but anything will do, finger painting is a great option too!
  2. Start by drawing a candy cane on the cardboard.
  3. Paint it red and let it dry.
  4. Add some stripes of glue.
  5. Pop on some cotton balls and Let dry.
  6. When it’s all dry cut it out and you have a sweet , soft and fluffy treat!

 

Books!

” Not Until Christmas Walter!”by Eileen Christelow is a cute book that captures the relationship between a girl and her four legged best friend! Walter the dog is eager to get at his present before the big day, when he opens it before Christmas he ends up in the doghouse! It takes a few events to earn his position as a best friend back but he finds a way! The book is broken into 3 chapters and would be a great book for children in the gap between picture books and chapter books.

” Merry Christmas Ollie” by Olivier Dunrea captures the feelings of children leading up to the holidays…wait…wait…wait… I remember those feelings well. Patience is a hard thing to learn for big people, but it’s almost impossible to be patient when you are waiting for something as magical as Christmas when you are little. This book is a great vehicle for talking about being patient, and the little geese will enchant you!

” Mooseltoe” by Margie Palantini is a funny holiday story with the characters from Moosestash , this time Moose is set on making Christmas perfectly perfect, only ooops he forgot the tree! Luckily he offers up himself and doesn’t do too bad a job as a Christmas tree! This book was to long for my toddler but older preschoolers and even school age kids will love the humor and fun illustrations.